Sweden retains its unbeaten record at Slovenia's expense
Fri, May 13, 2011 2:21 AM
Unbeaten Sweden left hosts Slovenia facing an uphill struggle to qualify for the ICC European Division 2 Championship, and put themselves in the box seat in the process, by registering a six-wicket victory at Velden.
Having effortlessly disposed of Turkey in the morning, Sweden were briefly on the back foot in the afternoon when Slovenia, having won the toss and elected to bat, set off at a gallop, Lasantha Karunatilake and Mark Oman scoring 17 from the first over.
But then Karunatilake holed out at long off attempting to smash Aman Zahid over the boundary, and when the same bowler removed both Oman and Robert Crawford, the Slovenians found themselves on 38 for three.
Captain Tom Furness and Nejc Zupan battled their way with a determined sixth wicket stand against some accurate bowling from Azam Khalil and Azam Mohammad, and after Zupan departed Furness continued to hold the side together.
Bradley Eve began with another fine spell when the Swedes replied, removing Sunny Sharma with the first ball he received and conceding just 12 runs in his four overs.
Sanaullah Habibzai rode his luck in hitting 29, including four fours and a six before falling to Simon Kaucic, but at 77 for six there was suddenly a chance that Slovenia might fight their way back into the game.
Sadat Sidiqi and Shahid Mustafa had other ideas, however, and their unbroken stand of 45 saw their side home with 13 balls to spare.
A 54 run partnership for the 5th wicket between Turkey captain Muhammad Assim (26*) and Nabeel Munir (39) proved the decisive factor in yet another thrilling encounter in the ICC European Division 3 Championship at Valburga.
Having been set a modest target of 100, the Turks struggled in the face of some accurate Bulgarian bowling, backed up by athletic fielding, and some breathtaking catches.
Indeed at the halfway juncture of the Turkish reply, Bulgaria was strong favourites, having reduced their opponents to 38 for 4. Despite the best efforts of Prakash Mishra (2-14), Saif ur-Reham (2-25), Turkey got home with three balls to spare as skipper Aasim held his nerve to strike the winning boundary.
The Czech Republic secured a comfortable victory over Estonia at Valburga on the second morning of the tournament; with rapid-fire innings of 25 in 20 deliveries from Brigham Smith and 33 not out in 26 deliveries from Mikulas Stary enabling them to reach their target of 101 with three overs to spare.
Earlier, the Czechs had showed much greater discipline with the ball, bowling only four wides as they dismissed the Estonians for exactly 100 in 18 overs.
Only Oliver Slobodetsky (22), Nand Lal Riar (27) and Moshiur Rahman (29 not out from 14 balls) reached double figures for Estonia, and the opening day centurion, captain Tim Heath, lasted only three balls this time before he was out without scoring.
Smith took three for 22 and Scott Page three for 19, while there were four catches for keeper Stary and three for Siva Gnanatheeswaran.
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